Latics record the treble after 2-0 victory against Exeter City in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup National Final at St. James’ Park.
- Wigan Athletic Under 18s win the EFL Youth Alliance Cup Final
- Charlie Jolley’s double was enough for Latics to complete their treble with 2-0 win at Exeter City’s St. James Park
- Win follows EFL Youth Alliance and Lancashire FA Youth Cup wins
EXETER CITY 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
C. Jolley 3, 42
The silverware was gleaming on the South Coast on Tuesday evening as Latics’ five-star Under 18s completed the treble in an extraordinary campaign, beating Exeter City 2-0 at St. James’ Park to win the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
Charlie Jolley’s first-half double was enough for Latics to see off a spirited Exeter City side, who rarely threatened the visitors throughout.
It was a typically hard-working and tactically astute performance under the guidance of Peter Murphy, Gregor Rioch and their team, winning the trophy at the third time of asking after narrow defeats against AFC Bournemouth and Luton Town in the last two years.
Latics made three changes following their 1-0 defeat against Walsall FC last time out. Harry Jolley and Luke Robinson came into the defence in the places of Ryan Galvin and Jensen Weir respectively, whilst Kyle Joseph partnered Jolley up-front in the place of Joe Gelhardt.
Following their first-team appearences against Birmingham City last weekend, Gelhardt and Weir both missed out on Latics’ trip to St. James Park.
There was also a place on the bench for Under 16s midfielder, Harry McGee, who will join the Under 18s set up for the 2019-20 campaign.
As is expected this season, Latics made a fast start and made the breakthrough inside three minutes through Jolley’s opener. Victor Maffeo found the forward in-behind the Exeter defence and he kept his calm to round the goalkeeper and finish into the empty net, taking his U18 tally to 30 goals in all competitions this season.
Latics had the chance to double their advantage after 15 minutes; Scott Smith capitalised on an error deep in the hosts’ half to find Mitchell Culshaw, though the latter dragged his effort narrowly wide.
Three minutes later, Jolley was fouled inside the area, winning a penalty but, despite opening the scoring early on, Exeter keeper Felix Norman was on-hand to save the spot kick, diving low to his right-hand side to deny Jolley his second goal of the evening.
Latics continued to have the upper hand in the first-half and had another chance to double their lead ten minutes before the interval, though Culshaw was again denied after a strong hand by Norman.
Murphy’s side found their clinical edge just before the interval to deservedly double their advantage at St. James Park. Luke Robinson’s inviting corner was flicked into the net by Jolley, who was left unmarked at the near post to put the visitors in cruise control.
Latics goalkeeper Bobby Jones was largely a spectator throughout, though he would have been relieved as Exeter City squandered a big chance to half the deficit on 70 minutes. A dangerous free-kick was met by Cheick Diabate in the box, though the defender failed to keep his effort down from five yards out.
A resolute second-half performance saw the visitors shut out late Exeter City pressure, with Latics lifting the EFL Youth Alliance National Cup trophy at the expense of their opponents at St. James’ Park.
It has been a remarkable season for the Under 18’s and the academy on a whole, with the EFL Youth Alliance title and Lancashire FA Youth Cup already being acquired.
Latics: Jones, H. Jolley (McGee 90), Robinson, Obi, Long, Smith (Capt), Culshaw, Maffeo, C. Jolley, Joseph, O’Neil (Galvin 85).
Unused subs: Tickle, Broe, Isherwood